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China Home Sales Rise at Slowest Pace in Three Years on Curbs

China Home Sales Rise at Slowest Pace in Three Years
A worker walks past China Vanke Co.'s Qinglinjing development in Shanghai. China’s residential values fell for a fourth month in December, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s 2011 home sales rose at the slowest pace in three years after the country extended measures and added home-purchase restrictions to control the risks of a property bubble.

Housing transactions climbed 10 percent to 4.86 trillion yuan ($770 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics today. Transactions in December totaled 803.8 billion yuan.

“The property industry visibly slowed down quickly in the fourth quarter,” said Alan Jin, a Hong Kong-based property analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., who expects the data to worsen in the next two quarters because “developers are already short of capital.”

China’s residential values fell for a fourth month in December, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd. The government said last month at an annual economic planning meeting that it won’t back away from real-estate industry curbs this year that are damping home sales and pulling down prices.

The economy expanded by 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, while full-year gross domestic product rose 9.2 percent, the statistics bureau also said today.

Investments in homes, office buildings, shopping malls and other types of real estate increased 28 percent to 6.17 trillion yuan last year, according to the data. That slowed from a gain of 33 percent in 2010. New property construction climbed 16 percent to 1.9 billion square meters (20.4 billion square feet).

Worsening Market

China’s property market may worsen this year as the government maintains its housing curbs, said Jinsong Du, a Hong Kong-based property analyst for Credit Suisse Group AG.

Mayors of Beijing and Shanghai both pledged to control the cities’ property prices earlier this month.

The government may only consider easing measures in the housing market after the National Peoples’ Congress in March, Michael Klibaner, head of China research at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Shanghai today. UBS AG said last week that China may ease property curbs as early as the mid-year to prevent a collapse of the housing market as the measures may boost supply to the highest in a decade.

Home sales volume rose 3.9 percent last year from 2010 to 970.3 million square meters, according to the data.

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